Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fifty Years After President Kennedy's Death

Like all milestones in U.S. history, anyone old enough to remember knows exactly where he was on the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  It was November 22, 1963 and this Blogger was in my 8th grade Typing Class when my junior high school Principal came on the loud speaker to inform the whole school that President Kennedy had been murdered in Dallas, Texas.  As a young political junkie even then who used to run home to watch Kennedy's Press Conferences, like the entire nation, I was shocked and saddened.   Kennedy was a young, energetic, handsome, articulate man that was a far cry from previous President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was more like my grandfather than my father; though everyone did like IKE as a reassuring figure.

John Kennedy was not in office long enough to be judged a great President.   What we do know of him was mostly image created by the liberal media and the Kennedy family.   However, what we can say for sure is that Kennedy was much more like President Ronald Reagan than Socialist President Obama.  In fact, Kennedy was an old style Democrat in the Truman tradition that could not be elected today as a Democrat for a variety of reasons.   As a practicing Roman Catholic, aside from the affairs he had with numerous women, that were not publicized at the time, John Kennedy was pro-life. 

Kennedy was an ardent Anti-Communist and Cold Warrior who supported bolstering our military with new spending.   Most important, John Kennedy was a Supply Side advocate who cut taxes to spur economic growth.  It was John Kennedy who often said that "a rising tide raises all boats", since he understood that we needed economic growth to help the poor.  The Kennedy Administration motto was the New Frontier as Kennedy pledged our nation to going to the moon in ten years and space exploration. 

Ironically, it would be Lyndon Johnson, who became President after Kennedy was killed who was in a better position to enact Kennedy's Civil Rights legislation and what later came to be known as the Great Society, which included Medicare and other social legislation that is bankrupting our country today.   In any case, John Kennedy by today's standards would be a moderate to center right Conservative Republican.   While he may have helped caused the Cuban Missile Crisis by appearing weak to Communist Soviet Dictator Nikita Khruschev, during their first meeting in Vienna in 1961 and botching the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, when push came to shove, Kennedy bravely stared down the Soviet Union by insisting that they remove their missiles from Cuba in exchange for the US removing our missiles from Turkey, avoiding a nuclear war. 

Most important, Kennedy proved that when the chips were down, he had the metal to be President of the United States.  He did set the stage for the Vietnam War; but otherwise, there is no way to know what Kennedy would have achieved had he been in office for two terms.  What we do know was that John Kennedy was able to inspire and unite our nation, a valuable lesson President Obama still needs to learn. 

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